An Amazon employee might have listened to your Alexa recording

An Amazon employee might have listened to your Alexa recording

A new report from Bloomberg may have shed some light on how Amazon uses employees and contractors in an attempt to train its Alexa smart assistant to better understand words and phrases. The device's serial number and the user's account number are typically left in.

In its report, Bloomberg quotes as its source, "seven people who have worked on the program".

It also said these chat rooms were used to help identify muddled words, as well as to share amusing recordings.

But apparently these Alexa human reviewers also sometimes hear recordings they find upsetting, or possibly criminal. According to an unnamed source, each reviewer parses over 1,000 audio clips over a nine-hour shift, annotating them and feeding them back to the system to improve Alexa's responses.

"We take the security and privacy of our customers' personal information seriously", an Amazon spokesman said according to the Bloomberg. "We only annotate an extremely small number of interactions from a random set of customers in order to improve the customer experience", Amazon says in a statement. Last year, a user said a file of a conversation recorded without their knowledge was sent to an Amazon employee. The group explained that all information would be strictly confidential and it will work with access restrictions and encryption. The workers were told by Amazon management that it wasn't their role to violate the privacy of their customers.




There are a lot of people all over the globe who employ the use of smart speakers in their homes and Amazon's Alexa is by far a favorite, even in spite of numerous other people raising their voices about privacy concerns. Additionally, the employees occasionally hear what sounds like crimes taking place-two workers say they heard what's believed to have been a sexual assault-but some were told it wasn't Amazon's job to interfere. The objective of the task is to better help Amazon understand human speech and understand commands. There are, unfortunately, times where people hear things they shouldn't.

"We use your requests to Alexa to train our speech recognition and natural language understanding systems", the company says in a list of frequently asked questions. However, as any user of a smart speaker knows, ambient noise can be mistaken for the wake word, triggering the recording by accident.

Bloomberg reports that, for Siri, Apple also uses human workers who listen to audio clips that don't have personally identifiable information.

Even Siri, Apple's voice assistant, has human beings working behind the scenes to gauge if the Apple product is interpreting users' requests correctly.

Now, Amazon is at the center of a potentially massive data scandal which suggests workers, not just artificial intelligence, are listening to Alexa voice commands.

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